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This Big Character Change In HBO's The Last Of Us Could Affect The Entire Story

For the most part, it seems the HBO TV series based on "The Last of Us" has tried to remain mostly accurate to the first game. However, there is always room for creative license in adaptations, which is why one memorable character from the first game received a big change.

If you played "The Last of Us" back in 2013, you likely remember two characters named Henry and Sam. The two are brothers who fled a survivor's camp in Hartford, Connecticut after it was abandoned by the military personnel responsible for guarding it. In their search for a normal life, they come across main characters Joel and Ellie and set up arguably one of the most tragic events in the game. During a frantic escape, Sam is bitten by one of the infected and doesn't tell anyone out of fear. He then slowly turns overnight and attempts to kill Ellie, forcing his brother Henry to intervene and kill him. Traumatized, Henry turns the weapon on himself.

It's a heart-wrenching but effective sequence that reminds players of their motivations. However, Sam's circumstances won't be the same in the show. At least, not completely.

Sam is deaf in the show

One of the more interesting changes involves Sam, Henry's younger brother. In the TV series, Sam will be deaf. While Sam did not have a hearing impairment in "The Last of Us" game, Keivonn Woodard — the actor who portrays Sam in the show — is also deaf. According to Neil Druckmann in an interview with the Washington Post, making Sam deaf was a creative decision meant to give the show a more intensive feel without the need for extra dialogue.

"It started from a place of just like, you know, a conversation I had with Craig [Mazin]," Druckmann told the Washington Post. "We're like what if we could use less dialogue, but then it led to — that kind of constraint led to really interesting storytelling decisions that I would say in some ways make that sequence more impactful than it is in the game, at least for me. I'm very curious to see how other people react to it." It's certainly a bold decision by the creative team to make such a big change to a character present in the source material. However, considering how critics have received the television series so far, it seems that this change — along with others — may have very well been worth it in the end.